Bhai Dooj has different regional names and in different region there are various distinct ways in which this beautiful festival is solemnized. But the features that are common in all rituals is the act of smearing a tilak of roli (vermilion), kesar (saffron) and rice on the brother’s forehead by their sister as a mark of their love and protection.
1. Bhai Dooj, Bhaiya Dooj
The name Bhai Dooj is popular in UP and Bihar where this festival is of huge significance. In Uttar Pradesh, the story of Bhai Dooj is narrated after performing all the rituals. Bhai Dooj rituals include the sister applying a tilak of roli and rice on her brother’s forehead and praying him with an aarti to shed off all the evil effects.
In Bihar and some eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh, this festival has a unique way of celebration. Here sisters imitate the central character of the story of Bhai Dooj, where a sister saves her brother’s life by cursing him until he gets married. This curse is seen as a mean to ward off all the dangers and evil effects of the spirits surrounding the brother. The sisters in these region start this day by cursing and abusing their brothers. After doing so, they prick their own tongues as punishment, with a thorny wild fruit and ask for their brothers’ forgiveness for the curses, and also for past mistakes. This state also includes a unique custom where the brothers eat grains of Bajri with water from their sisters’ hands.
2. Bhai Phota
West Bengal this festival is known as Bhai Phota and is celebrated on the first or the second day of Kali Puja festival. In the states of Bengal the sisters fasts religiously until she applies a ‘phota’ or ’tilak’ with sandal wood paste on her brother’s forehead. She offers him sweets and gifts and prays for his long and healthy life.
3. Bhai Bij, Bhau-Beej or Bhav-Bij
This festival is popular as Bhai Bij, Bhau-beej or Bhav Bij amongst the Marathi and Konkani speaking communities in the states of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka.In Maharashtra, the brother is made to sit in a special square shaped space on the floor drawn by the sister. Before sitting the brother is made to eat a bitter fruit called Karith. This custom is associated with the story that Lord Krishna tasted this fruit before he went on his mission to kill demon Narakasura. The highlight of this celebration is the delicious Basundi Puri or Shrikhand Puri.
4. Bhai Tika
In Nepal Bhai Dooj is known as Bhai Tika and is celebrated by large number of people living there. In fact it is their second most important festival after Vijaya Dashami.
Bhai Dooj Puja Mantra
Chant this mantra while applying tilak and pray for the well being of your brother.
Bhratus tabaa grajaataaham, Bhunksa bhaktamidam shuvam
Preetaye yama raajasya Yamunaah Visheshatah2
भ्ृतूस तबा ग्रजाताहां, भुंकसा भक्तामीड़म शुवाँ
प्रीटाए यामा राजस्यYअमुनाह विशेषत
1. Bhai Dhooj Meaning
Bhai Dhooj is one of the most interesting and popular family festivals of India. The objective of this puja is to strengthen the relationship between brother and sister. It is to remind brothers that they need to be more affectionate in taking care of their sister. The essence of this puja is very well spoken by its very name meaning Bhai meaning Brother and Dooj meaning the second day of the month when the puja is done.
2. Tika Ceremony
Usually, the Diwali celebrations last for five days and Bhai Dooj occurs on the last day as a sort of conclusion to the grand celebrations of Diwali year on year. Typically, this puja is performed on the second day (Dhooj or Dvitiya) of the bight half (shukla Paksha) of the lunar month in the month of Karthika. The core of the puja is the sister performing the Tika ceremony praying for the long life of her brother and then the brother giving her surprise gifts.
3. Twice in a Year
Bhai Dooj occurs twice every year once after Holi and then after Diwali. As indicated by the name, while the one following Diwali is observed on the second day after the new moon day (Amavasya), the one following Holi is performed on the second day following full moon day (Poornima).
4. Puja Thali
Bhai Dooj occasion reinforces the importance of brother in the minds of sister. On the day of Bhai Dooj, the sister in a family makes a Puja Thali especially for her brother with so much love which consists of items like Tika and is considered highly auspicious.
5. Puja Items
Before the puja, the sister must get ready with items including coconut, fruits, seven betel leaves, batashas, mithai, roli and some rice. Usually, this puja is done early in the morning before the brother leaves for his work or can be arranged in the evenings as well.
6. Puja on mother house
Both married and unmarried girls perform this puja in their mother’s house. If they life in far off places after marriage or find it difficult to visit their mother’s place, then they perform the puja in their in-laws house and send the tika and roli to their brother’s place. Alternatively, the sister can also give some money to the sister-in-law to buy the essential things on her behalf.
7. Gift Exchange
To start with, the sister decorates the coconut, batashas, mithai, rice and roli and lights up the puja lamp. Everyone in home performs the puja and the sister applies the tika on her brother’s forehead. She too presents some tasty dishes and coconut to her brother. While the brother needs to partake some of it, he can then leave for his work. Those who are free at home can sit back to listen to the story about the Bhai Dooj festival.
8. Wonderful Memories
Usually, this occasion marks a congenial get together among the family members. For this occasion, sisters visit their mother’s homes. Especially for newly married girls, this is an occasion to visit their parents’ house and share the wonderful memories they have in their in laws house including the day to day affairs, the excitements during celebrations and so on. On the whole, this puja has a lot of cultural, spiritual and social significance.
|Bhai Dooj â€“ A Festival Dedicated To Brothers and Sisters|
|Hinduism – Hindu Festivals|
|Bhai Dooj is a festival of brothers and sisters. The festival is observed to strengthen the bondage of love and care between brothers and sisters. Bhai means brother. The word ‘Bhai Dooj’ specifies that the celebration is committed towards brothers. This festival falls on the second day after full moon.
The word Bhai Dooj pronounced in different way like ‘Bhai Duj’, ‘Bhai Dhooj’ or ‘Bhai Dhuj. This festival is observed two times in a single year. The first bhai Dooj is observed following Holi and the second follows after Diwali. Bhai Dooj following Diwali is commemorated on the two days after the full moon in the month of Aswayuja or Ashwin.
This celebration strengthens the bond between brothers and sisters. As this celebration is observed by married women also, married sister go to their brother’s house and apply tilak on the fore head of their brothers, offer gifts. Thus emotional bond between them becomes stronger. Bhai Dooj demonstrates the authentic family tradition of India. On this auspicious day, the sisters worship berry trees and pray for wellbeing of their brothers. After the ceremonial prayer, they put tilak on their forehead of the brothers and give them sweets.
According to some religious books, during the Vedic period, Yama Raja, God of Dharma and her sister Yamuna were offered prayer on this propitious day. It was believed that at this auspicious day the Yama went to see his sister Yamuna at Gokul. While Yamraj was leaving Yamuna’s house, he presented her a special souvenir to show his affection to her and in response Yami also presented him a beautiful gift, which she had prepared herself. On that occasion Yamraj declared that the person who got tilak from his sister will by no means be harmed. On the basis of this tale, Bhai Dooj also becomes popular as yama- dwitiya. In view of the fact, this day is celebrated as a sign of affection between sisters and brothers. If sister is unable to visit brother’s house then it is the duty of brother to visit his sister’s residence to commemorate Bhai Dooj.
The festival holds its own significance. It helps to preserve the affection between brothers and sisters for ever. Both share food, gifts and create a space for each in the core their hearts.
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